S.D. 4-H activities at state fair will change

S.D. 4-H activities at state fair will change The change in dates for the South Dakota State Fair means South Dakota 4-H must assess its state fair activities for 2004.

The South Dakota State Fair Advisory Commission voted recently to start the 2004 fair on the Saturday before Labor Day weekend and end it on the following Saturday. The 2004 South Dakota State Fair will run from Sept. 4-11.

In recent years, the fair has been held at the end of July.

Karla Trautman, the South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service's program leader for youth development/4-H, said along with the change in dates, South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Larry Gabriel is suggesting South Dakota 4-H concentrate its activities in the first days of the fair so that 4-H members miss less school.

However, Trautman said there is no way to compress South Dakota 4-H's current eight days of state fair activities into the days of the fair that do not conflict with school activities � primarily a weekend time frame.

"Working within those parameters will mean assessing the activities that are conducted and potentially restructuring what and how much we do," Trautman said.

Trautman said 4-H will be forming advisory committees of 4-H youths, parents and staff in the coming weeks to help decide how to carry out 4-H activities at the 2004 state fair. The advisory committees will make decisions by the end of this year, Trautman said, so that families can begin preparing for the 2004 state fair.

"We will look at what provides the greatest educational opportunity for youths, and what allows the family, which has been the core of our structure, to participate with us during the time that we have at the state fair," she added.

Trautman said sound principles of youth development will guide whatever decisions are made. The emphasis will be on seeing that 4-H youths have a safe, fun and educational environment while being allowed the opportunity to participate and succeed.

"Our goal in 4-H and South Dakota Cooperative Extension will be to allow children the opportunity to participate in 4-H at the state fair. But we will do so without putting families into conflict with school functions, in which we also want youth to succeed," Trautman said. "Young people will have to make choices, but we want to insure that those choices are safe and educational for them and their families."

4-H families will learn through their local Extension offices about state fair 4-H changes.

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